The ocean. The Pacific Ocean. The Monterey Bay. West Cliff Drive. The cliffs themselves. The smell of ocean air, seldom as fresh as poetry pretends. A mixture of acrid salt, sand-heat rising like baked bread, rotting kelp, Pelican dung, and the occasional human off-gassing of Aqua Net, coconut tanning oil, and the incense of semi-legal ganja glowing in communal pipes.
Now I’m looking at the waves and the undulating swells behind them. These waves have been crashing like this every day of my life without fail. The cliffs on which I sit seem solid but are always changing. Constantly carved and buffeted, there is a little less of them today than there was yesterday.
Right there are the remnants of last night’s party, discarded Corona bottles in a nook of the cliff, one of them shattered. I hope the pollution was worth the celebration, the beautiful bashing and crashing of water on rock.
And now my eyes are searching for my totem animal, the little old man of the sea, skirting the kelp beds hunting for abalone, carrying his tool-rock, floating on his back, paying more attention to the sky above than to the sea below. My mirror image, for I, up here in the air, can’t take my eyes off the water as it constantly moves and shapes the rocks, the otter, and me.